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Americans Need a Raise

Most Americans need a pay increase. In a timely and welcome initiative, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) has launched a new effort to focus the nation’s attention on the need to make wage growth an urgent national policy priority.

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Vermont Sets Pace for State Minimum Wage Rates

Vermont has become the seventh state to pass an increase in the minimum wage this year. Under the legislation, the minimum will rise from its current level of $8.73 per hour to $10.50 over the next four years. Vermont will then be the state with the highest statutory minimum wage in the nation—unless, of course, recent trends continue and more states add to the momentum for increasing the wage rate.

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Fast Food Workers Strike for Better Pay and Union Rights

America’s workers need a raise. This is especially true for fast food workers who toil at the very bottom of our economic pyramid, taking home minimum or near minimum wages. This Thursday, May 15, fast food workers in up to 150 cities are planning to go on strike.

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Proposal Would Provide Relief from Excessive School Testing

High-stakes testing mania has become so pronounced in our public schools that test preparation is crowding out all sorts of other components of a well-rounded education, such as physical education, recess, music art, and foreign languages. Teachers are being held accountable for student test scores, even though research demonstrates that teachers have very little control over the results.

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The Full Costs of Contracting Out Government Services

Conservative politicians often praise the “free-market,” while they denigrate the state, local and federal governments that they pretend to lead. Paying private companies to deliver public services is commonly promoted with such rhetoric. However, both taxpayers and responsible politicians are realizing that this rhetoric has little to do with reality.

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Budget Reveals the Radical Nature of Republican Priorities

Paul Ryan’s latest offering to the budget-austerity god’s passed the House last week along strictly partisan lines. Budgets are statements of priorities. The Ryan budget offers the nation a clear view of what is at stake in the fall elections. It demonstrates the GOP’s priorities. It shows, in stark relief, what the Republicans would do to main street America, if they could.  Continue reading.

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Offshore Manufacturing Shift Contributes to Declining U.S. Living Standards

Organized labor and its liberal allies have long argued that the shift of U.S. manufacturing overseas has contributed to the decline in American living standards.For decades, both Democratic and Republican officials in Washington have been deaf to such arguments. However one official government report, which recently came to light, has finally conceded this truth. Continue reading.

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How Braley Defies the Odds in Iowa Senate Race; An Expanding House Map

Anyone wondering how Democrat Bruce Braley has extended his lead in the Iowa U.S. Senate race despite President Obama’s sagging popularity in the state should take a look at the current 1st District Congressman’s career.  Continue reading. 

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States and localities should be able to tax internet sales

States are starved for funds, especially to pay for education. They could have $23 billion more every year without raising taxes, cutting programs, or increasing the deficit. All it requires is an Act of Congress to allow states to tax goods bought on the internet that they already would tax if bought locally. The bill has already passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support.

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Delaware’s Progressive Community Targets Marriage Equality Opponent

 A veteran ADA and LGBT activist is working to unseat a conservative state legislator representing Rehoboth Beach, DE, who voted against marriage equality.

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Equality, Efficiency and Economic Progress are Compatible

The practice of effective economic policy-making is often hampered by a persistent myth that inequality—while less than ideal—is nevertheless necessary for the sake of efficiency, growth and progress. Liberals and progressives have never believed this and a long line of left-of-center economists have de-bunked the notion. Nevertheless, the myth persists. Recently, new research on this issue has emerged from three top scholars at the International Monetary Fund (IMF)... 

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Exploiting GOP Vulnerabilities in Indiana; Seeking a Vote on Tax Fairness in Illinois

There are lots of reasons to run for office. For two progressive candidates in North Central Indiana, the nature of the opposition convinced them it was time to get in the race.

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Corporations Don’t Need a Tax Cut

American’s largest corporations do not pay their fair share of federal taxes. We are told that the nation cannot afford to provide adequate support for our hungry, our unemployed, our students or our retirees. Yet no proposal to raise revenue to pay for these and other needs gets serious consideration in this era of crackpot fiscal restraint. Now, the nation’s top tax legislator is proposing to make things worse by making huge cuts in corporate income tax rates.

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Other Big Iowa Races: Flipping the 3rd Congressional, Holding the 61st Legislative

If not for Sen. Tom Harkin’s stepping down, the biggest political retirement in Iowa this year would be that of 3rd District Republican Congressman Tom Latham. In 2012, Latham won the first race in the newly redrawn district, a hard-fought campaign in which he knocked off another incumbent, Democrat Leonard Boswell. (Both were scrambling to stay in Congress after Iowa lost one representative following the 2010 census.) But Obama won the district in the presidential contest, signaling to Democrats that the seat was in play.

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Privatization Gone Wrong: Corporate Rich Feeding on the Taxpayers

The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has released a new report titled, EXPOSED: America's Highest Paid Government Workers. The cleverly titled report shows that America’s most highly compensated “government workers” not are your kid’s teachers, or the folks who repair your streets. No, the “government workers” who are taking home the big bucks are corporate executives who have gained highly lucrative contracts to take over public services and are rewarding themselves with gigantic salaries.

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Promoting Progressive Politics in the Delaware Valley

Active progressive politics is reemerging in the Delaware River valley this election year under new local ADA leadership. In southeastern Pennsylvania, one of the organization’s most storied affiliates is gaining new life with an eye to influencing tight Congressional races in the Philadelphia suburbs, among other contests. Downriver in Delaware, full-time organizer Ezra Temko and a freshly formed chapter are working to ensure that the most working-family-friendly candidates appear on the ballot this fall.

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Indiana’s 2nd District Key to Dems Taking Back House—or At Least Getting Close

Democrats need to pick up only 17 seats to regain the Speaker’s gavel. Any ground gained this year—a tough year—will make their task that much easier in the more favorable presidential-election year of 2016. ADA will play an important role, if not in helping to actually restore a progressive House majority this year, then at least helping set the table for one two years from now.
 

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Wednesday Campaign Wrap-Up: Dems Eye Iowa To Protect Senate Majority

Control of the U.S. Senate next year could well hinge on Iowa, where Democrats need to hold the seat of retiring liberal stalwart Tom Harkin. Hawkeye Republicans are still sorting out who will face off against the certain Democratic nominee, U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, but ADA’s long-time Iowa organizer nevertheless expects an ocean of outside conservative money to pour into the state. And right-wing mastermind Karl Rove will have a particular incentive to train his Super PAC millions on Iowa.

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In the States: Corporate Giveaways Favored Over Worker Pensions

A new study from the non-profit research organization, Good Jobs First, shows that state-level subsidies and tax loopholes are often greater than the costs of employees’ pensions. This is important information, because in several states, public employee benefit plans are coming under attack and many politicians are saying that the retirement benefits owed to public employees are too costly.

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Climbing into the Upper Class is Still Difficult

Americans would like to believe that high incomes are a reward for hard work, high skills, an innovative mindset, or the prudent early investment of one’s time by getting educated. We would like to believe that our society is the American dream come true, where anyone can make it from the lowest rungs of the economic ladder to the highest. Sadly this myth has never been true, and isn’t today.

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